Diabetes and Depression– Who Has the Power

March 25th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I am not a medical provider.  If you think you or someone you love is clinically depressed or needs professional help, seek out that help immediately.  Go.  Now.

I think depression in people and in kids living with diabetes is more situational than chemical.  If there is a link between diabetes and depression, how can we avoid negative consequences of depression while we take care of our diabetes, or support someone living with the disease?

Diabetes and Depression—Who Has the Power Here

When you are first diagnosed with type one or type two diabetes your medical team probably had you attend at least one educational class.  If not, they probably had you see a certified diabetes educator (CDE) who told you what your blood glucose parameters are.  You may have even heard magic numbers in an ad, or seen it on a lab result.   

What you probably didn’t learn at that time was just how DIFFICULT it was going to be to keep your blood glucose levels steady or in range.

There are just so many variables in your life and in your body that when you have to function for your pancreas AND live your life simultaneously you will always face a tradeoff.  Do you want to keep your levels in range 100% of the time?  Likely that will take 100% of your brainpower and 100% of your focus and oh yeah 100% luck in there too because outside forces like the weather, hormones, stress, exercise, even the way a restaurant prepares your food all need to be factored into the mix.

Because so many things are literally outside your control 100% of the time, you will max out if you try to “control” your diabetes.  You very plainly do not have the power to control your diabetes.  There are simply too many things that your body is doing and so many things you encounter in the world that don’t have anything to do with your diabetes that you would need to control in order to control your disease all day every day and at night too.

Just like your family pet or your teenage brother, your disease has things it will do that you cannot control. 

It is probably better to try to “manage” your disease than to “control” it. 

So, what you CAN do is try and strike a balance.  Shoot for keeping your blood glucose levels in range a majority of the time.  Try to minimize the effects of those outside forces.  Above all, keep your diabetes in perspective: your diagnosis was never meant to fundamentally change who you are.  You are YOU and you have an additional job to do.

Yes, there will be times that you need to focus 100% on your diabetes.  For me, that includes times I need to stop and eat something to combat a low blood glucose.  It has included times I needed to leave work because my pump was malfunctioning.  I have postponed or cancelled countless workouts because of my blood glucose. 

Do not give your disease the power to consume you and never let diabetes define you.  YOU CHOOSE HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE.  Your diabetes doesn’t have that power on its own.

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